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Last September, I turned 40. Just a few months prior, I fell in love with an amazing 43-year-old man. The relationship moved fast; we quickly moved in together and started talking about building a family. We both wanted children, and preferably more than one. Since we planned to marry, we questioned whether we should do that first, and then start to create our dream family. But rather than wait, we decided to just go for it.

We started trying to conceive in October and we agreed to not put too much pressure on it: we would just continue to have fun sex as we were already doing and see what happened. He offered to get his sperm checked and I said, “No. If we’re not pregnant in six months, then we can both get tests done.” I thought about getting my hormone levels checked with my gynecologist, but I put that task on the back burner as well. I just wanted to have sex and not focus on the getting pregnant part. I wanted to hold onto the faith I had in my body and in its ability to do what I believed and hoped it could do—conceive with ease, regardless of the fact that I was now 40 years old.

In all honesty—I never shared this with my partner—I did expect it to take at least three months, or probably more, to get pregnant. I know how long it can take a couple to conceive when both partners are over the age of 40. I know the increased risks of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities with age. I’ve heard about and read all of the same statistics we all hear about: the emotionally draining tests, the roller coaster ride of multiple rounds of IVF or Clomid, the painful shots, the mounting bills and the nights of tears. And, as much as I have always had faith in my body and its ability to conceive, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say these thoughts weren’t causing me some turmoil.

In fact, I know the road of fertility challenges better than most because I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and have specialized women’s health and fertility for the 10 years. I have helped hundreds of women on their path to conceiving and giving birth to a healthy child. I have written books and speak publicly on the topic, and I know all of the potential fertility challenges that exist because I have gone through them with my clients. I have witnessed way too many heart-wrenching fertility struggles. But, through my experience, I also know that most all the women I work with do wind up conceiving healthy children at some point--even in their 40s.

When I work with fertility clients, I guide them to adopt certain lifestyle changes—like becoming omnivores, eating organic, meditating, sleeping 7-8 hours each night and practicing gratitude—to optimize their fertility. Based on my decade of clinical experience and my years of extensive research, I believe that when we practice these lifestyle habits, we truly have the ability to change our health and improve our fertility--even in our 40s.

I’ve seen clinically how these tweaks in behavior can dramatically shift health in a positive direction. Many women, when they adopt these lifestyle changes, see improvement in their menstrual cycles and their ovulation; their hormonal imbalances balance out; their thyroid comes back into harmony; their lives change for the better; they are happier in the present moment; and, overall they are healthier on a global scale: mind, body and soul. It is then that I see them conceive—when mind, body and soul are in sync.

So, now it’s my turn to be a testament to what I preach: the way you live your life has an impact on your health and your fertility. And in my clinical opinion, chronological age pales in comparison to biological age.

As I am writing this, I am 16 weeks pregnant. I got pregnant the second month we tried. Last week, we got the results from my maternity 21 and nuchal translucency tests and they not only showed that the baby boy inside of me is healthy, but also that I have the same genetic odds of anything going wrong with this pregnancy as a women half my age. The doctors have told me there is no need for any further testing. We are in the clear.

I can’t tell you what a relief that news was. That’s not to say that when I go to the bathroom, I still make sure there’s no blood on the toilet paper or that I randomly catch myself squeezing my breasts (sometimes in public!) to make sure they’re still sore, or when I feel cramping in my low back, I fear I am miscarrying—even though I know it’s just the baby growing. I guess this is just the beginning of being parent and worrying about your child’s well being. It’s absolutely surreal.

For as many times as I’ve been on the other side of this with one of my clients, nothing compares to now knowing it and living it first hand. It truly is a miracle. And then to know that my odds of having a healthy baby are the same as someone half my age--I feel that is a true testament to all the work I have done on my health over the years. I really believe the way I live my life has reversed my aging process, or at the least slowed down the aging process of my body and its cells.

I’m living proof that 40 and pregnant happens and it can happen naturally, with ease and fun. I am proud to say that I treat my body like the palace I believe it is, and even though I had—and, will likely continue to have—moments of worry and fear over the health of my baby, I never lost faith in my body and its ability to conceive a healthy child at some point. For all this, I am beyond grateful.

As I always say in my clinic: you have the power to change your health and improve your fertility. My pregnancy at 40 years old is evidence of that.

Author, acupuncturist, and herbalist Aimee Raupp is a women’s health and fertility expert. Follow along on her blog for more on her pregnancy journey and check out her latest book, Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways To Improve Your Fertility Now and Into Your 40’s. And come meet her in person at Well Rounded NY’s Tips by Trimester event on March 26! Register here.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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